Dynamic facial normal maps!


We've been working on ideas for Lemniscate, and we were reminded of something we've wanted to try doing for a long time: dynamic facial normal maps tied to morph targets. You know: when a character pulls up an eyebrow and wrinkles appear on his forehead, and the like. It took us about a single workday to implement this using UE4 Blueprints (maybe eight hours including creating the normal maps).

We don't want to spoil anything of Lemniscate, so we've applied this technology to one of our characters from OLP, Beat. She hasn't had a singing video yet, so with this, all of the characters have lip-sync videos where they make fools of themselves.

This animation isn't final or fully detailed, the body animation is still in progress so this version is made of recycled, already existing animations. Oh, by the way, we've also made the texture based eyes work.

The quality of this gif isn't great, but you can hopefully see how the normal maps change. We should really make some older characters, this would look perfect on them.

If you're interested, we can probably make a quick tutorial on how to make dynamic normal maps (EDIT: here it is) and texture based eye movement work in UE4 Blueprints.
Just to make it clear, we're progressing with the development of Lemniscate. This is one of the rooms (the staff quarters):

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